Baby steps to a healthier you

When it comes to dieting, many people start off way ahead of themselves and quickly become disappointed, all because they started off with big steps instead of small ones. Just as getting out of shape did not happen overnight, you must be in it for the long haul if you want to get healthy again. Over time, you can change your habits in eating, fitness, and even in life.

Here’s a list to help get you started:

1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

2. Park your car in the back of the parking lot. Walking helps a lot!

3. Begin by adding one vegetable to your meal, then two. Choose a variety of colors to your meals.

4. Substitute your normal drink with a glass of water, then gradually work up to two. If you don’t like water, try adding some fruit, such as a slice of lemon, lime or even pineapple. Believe it or not, one day you won’t need fruit to drink water anymore.

5. Eat your meal without the TV and with your family or friends instead. That way, you can tell when you are actually full. When you’re watching television, you’re distracted and won’t be able to hear your body.

6. Try a new dance style at the YMCA or other local community center. You can also take advantage of the free gym here at OCCC. If you’re more comfortable in your home, buy a DVD on Latin or other style dances you would like to try.

7. Get plenty of sleep to recharge your body. Sleeping also burns calories, so why not?

8. Even if you’re not into working out, exercise is vital to good health. Start with light exercising, such as yoga or tai chi. Both help reduce stress, get you in shape, and help you feel whole again.

9. Use work and school breaks to take brisk walks instead of snacking. Small steps such as these can get you on the path towards being more active again.

10. Don’t forget to stretch often! You’ll improve over time on your flexibility and posture.

Remember, you aren’t perfect. When you have those moments of overindulging, don’t stress or beat yourself up. Just try to focus on eating healthier foods. Everyone should get to know their bodies and appreciate them. Don’t forget to reward yourself on your improvements — but not with food. Think of your body as more of an instrument than an object, and you’ll feel more opt to making changes one step at a time.

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